When my son’s 16th birthday started approaching, I cringed. I knew he’d want to get his driver’s license, drive my car and be on my insurance. And learning that new teen drivers have the highest risk of crashing of any group did not make me feel any better. But I got my license on my 16th birthday and it was high time for him to start driving to places on his own rather than mom and dad dropping him off and picking him up everywhere.
Things have gone well over the last four years and he hasn’t been involved in any accidents and he only has received one fix-it ticket. But, after reading an article on about teen driving tips, I decided I sure could have used this advice back then when I was trying to figure out a fair and responsible approach to getting my son behind the wheel.
I did some things right as we discussed drinking and driving and laid out expectations as far as paying for gas, insurance and what would happen if he got a ticket or involved in an accident that was his fault. We also paid to send him to a professional driver’s school so he could learn without his mom and I jumping every time he hit the break or swerved in his lane.
Teen Driving Tips
Here are additional teen driving tips, some I covered with him and some I didn’t even think of, that may help you and your new teen driver:
• Do not allow other teen passengers in the car until your teenager is experienced. Some states actually have laws preventing this and it comes with good reason since the presence of other adolescents in the car greatly increases the risk of a crash and the risk increases with each additional passenger.
• Phase in driving by limiting driving in less safe conditions at first. Many states limit nighttime driving by newly licensed drivers but you can make your own rules too. The same applies for driving in bad weather.
• Do not allow your teenager to use a cell phone while driving. This includes texting.
• Be a good example. Wear your seatbelt, drive carefully, obey the rules of the road and pull over if you need to answer your phone or make a call.
• Driving is a privilege. Even if your teenager has their own car, you can still make the rules of when and under what conditions they are permitted to drive. Explain what happens if your rules are not followed (i.e. they lose their driving privileges).
An easy way to communicate and enforce your expectations is to create a parent-teen driving contract. Click here for a contract developed by Allstate that you can print and discuss with your child.